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A Long Finish by Michael Dibdin
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A Long Finish (1998)

by Michael Dibdin

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Good book. Classic detective novel set in rural Italy. I picked it up to read before our trip to Italy because it is set in the same area we were visiting. ( )
  JRexV | Sep 25, 2011 |
This is the first Aurelio Zen book I have read. I bought it after watching, and greatly enjoying, the new BBC mini series with Rufus Sewell in the name part. Sewell did it so well that I found this book rather a disappointment. This Zen, admittedly older than in the televised stories, is rather more like Maigret (without the wife). Definitely middle aged and a bit stuffy despite showing a willingness to break rules and cut corners when he thinks he's right. We are treated to some personal angst arising from difficult relationships in the past and leading to somnambulism. Brief (very) psychotherapy from the local doctor - also a prince, pot smoker, harpsichord virtuoso and lover of much younger women - only leads him to a improbable decision about personal family ties.
The atmosphere sounds authentic and the author had expert help in getting the details of Piedmontese viticulture right. The scent of the white truffle oozes from the pages. The killings are brutal and rural and the resolution is obscure untill the end although there is a very obvious clue to the identity of the guiilty party about a third of the way through the book.
I think I will meet up with Zen again, even if only for the descriptions of Italy. ( )
  abbottthomas | Feb 6, 2011 |
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Later -- when word of what had happened got about and, in variously garbled versions, was for a time the common property of the entire nation -- a television crew set up a satellite dish in a clearing on the hillside at the back of the Faigano property, paying what in local terms amounted to a small fortune for the temporary rights to a a few square meters of land so poor, so barren, so utterly useless, that it had virtually ceased to exist on anyone's mental map of the vicinity.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375704019, Paperback)

Fresh from the successful investigation of a series of crimes in Naples, that admirably devious and dour Italian police inspector Aurelio Zen returns to his office in Rome to discover that a new set of bureaucrats is in power--with plans to punish him for his success by sending to him Sicily to fight the Mafia. Fate, in the form of a powerful film director, offers a way out: Zen is to go instead to Piedmont, where the murder of a noted winemaker--apparently by his son and heir--threatens the future of one of the film director's favorite vintages. Even though Zen is a Venetian by birth and drinks "fruity, fresh vino sfuso from the Friuli intended to be consumed within the year" as the director sarcastically notes, he can still see how important the case can be to his future--especially if it keeps him away from deadly Sicily. Not only wine but also truffles are involved in a growing series of murders in the area around Alba, and Michael Dibdin (an English writer who lives in Seattle but must spend lots of time in Italy) once again manages to capture the heart, soul, and stomach of the region. Zen, whose personal life is gradually revealed and expanded in each book in the series, finds out several surprising things about being a father in this one. Previous Zen encounters: Cosi Fan Tutti, Dead Lagoon, Ratking, Vendetta. --Dick Adler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:58 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

After his adventures under sun-drenched Neapolitan skies in Cosi Fan Tutti, Aurelio Zen finds himself back in Rome, sneezing in a damp wine cellar and being given another unorthodox assignment: to release the jailed scion of an important wine-growing family who is accused of a brutal murder. Zen travels north to an Italy as outwardly serene as Naples was manic. Amid the quiet fields, autumnal skies and crumbling farmhouses of Piedmont, Zen must try to penetrate a traditional culture in which family and soil are inextricably linked. Here secrets can last for generations, and have a finish as long and lingering as that of a good Barbaresco. Zen must also face up to mysteries from his own past, as well as grapple with the greed, envy, hatred and love that are the human components of any landscape.… (more)

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